Shenzhen Shut Down As China On Brink Of Biggest COVID-19 Crisis Since Wuhan
The high-tech city of Shenzhen is the latest Chinese city to be shut down. It has a population of over 17 million. The decision has been taken by the government to contain the worst outbreak of virus cases in the last two years.
All bus and metro services will be suspended. Not just that but all communities and villages will be sealed as well due to the latest COVID-19 outbreak. The news came to light from a report by state-run China Daily.
The city of Shenzhen has been battling an Omicron surge since late February. The Chinese authorities will carry out three rounds of citywide COVID-19 tests next week.
In a statement, city authorities urged the residents to work from home and to step out only to buy daily necessities.
After topping 1,000 new cases for two days in a row, new locally transmitted cases in China surged to more than 3,100, the National Health Commission reported on Sunday. This is the highest in two years.
According to a report from South China Morning Post, all travellers going out from Shenzhen must submit a negative nucleic acid test result.
The outbreak in Shenzhen is the biggest COVID-19 crisis that China is facing since Wuhan.
Those who remember will know that the coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan in December 2019 before it spread to almost all parts of the world, claiming over 6 million lives so far.
It is worth noting that cases in China are on the rise when most nations are opening up following decrease in cases.
It's not just Shenzhen, China's zero COVID-19 policy has come under stress in the past few weeks as several other cities including Beijing and Shanghai are witnessing a new wave of cases.
16 provinces and four mega cities - Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing, have reported new coronavirus infections.
Some local health authorities have attributed the surge to the Omicron variant, which is more transmissible but causes less severe symptoms than the original COVID-19 virus, the Post report said.
Sun Chunlan, China's Vice Premier, urged all regions witnessing severe epidemic outbreaks to control the situation in the shortest time possible.
As part of its COVID-19 responses, China has added antigen detection as an option for COVID-19 testing among the public, in efforts to boost the early discovery of COVID-19 cases.
According to the state-run Xinhua, Shanghai's authorities have asked people to not leave the city. Those who do leave the city must posses a negative nucleic acid test result taken 48 hours before departure.
Ironically, the big spikes in cases have come just days after a senior Chinese official claimed that China is one of the best performed in curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He attributed China's success to stringent zero-case policy of restricting national and international travel combined with proactive local lockdowns.
China's dynamic zero-COVID approach has worked in the country's context, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for National People's Congress, the country's Parliament, told media.
Meanwhile, not far from mainland China, the situation continues to worsen in the former British colony of Hong Kong. Officials have confirmed 27,647 new cases and 87 deaths.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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